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"Chapter Seven: The Massacre at Hawkins Lab" is the seventh episode of the fourth season of Stranger Things and the thirty-second episode overall. It premiered on May 27, 2022, being the final episode of the first volume.

Synopsis

As Hopper braces to battle a monster, Dustin dissects Vecna's motives — and decodes a message from beyond. El finds strength in a distant memory.


Plot

SPOILERS AHEAD

In the Upside Down, Steve is getting mauled by Demobats but is saved by Nancy, Robin and Eddie who engage with the aggressive species. The group come out as victors but they start to see hoards of Demobats coming towards their way, Nancy points the group to the forest in order to seek shelter from the brutal assault.

Back in the torture room, agent Wallace collapses from the previous torture session and gives out information on the whereabouts of Eleven on the condition that Lt. Colonel Jack Sullivan does not harm the girl.

In the facility in Nevada, Eleven tries to use her power on a Coca-Cola can but fails. Owens and Brenner observe the experiment. Owens urges Brenner to hurry the process as Hawkins is running out of time and so are they. Afterwards, Brenner tells Eleven that she is blocking the memories of the massacre which causes regression in getting her powers back with fear being the big factor in causing it and urges Eleven in confronting the truth without running away. Afterwards, Eleven goes back to NINA with Brenner picking out footage of what had happened during that day on 1979 to further up the process as per Owens demanded.

Back at the Wheeler House, Max, Lucas and Dustin are questioned by Powell and Callahan about what they were doing in Lovers Lake, whereabouts of Nancy and relations to Eddie but their lies are pointed out by Erica much to Dustin's irritation and the parent's obliviousness of the situation. This triggers an massive conflict between the parents, the kids and officers to which Powell shuts it down and suggests that they interrogate each kid one at a time and direct Max to be the first, to her disbelief.

Elsewhere in the Upside Down, Nancy, Steve, Robin and Eddie traverse through the forest grounds and takes shelter at Skull Rock with Steve slowly losing blood from the attack inflicted by the Demobats. Nancy suggests that they get weapons from her house as opposed to going downtown Hawkins and to the police station for safety. They are suddenly shaken by earthquakes and screams of various Upside Down creatures. During their travels, Eddie and Steve catch up with one another with Eddie informing him that Nancy and Robin were not hesitant in coming after Steve, stating that if it was any other situation he wouldn't even have bothered to help due to him believing that outside D & D, he is no hero. Eddie than tells Steve how much Dustin admires and respects him, much to the latter's shock and encourages him to try and get back together with Nancy. Shortly afterwards, they are shaken once more by earthquakes with Nancy soon spotting her home from a distance.

Back in the prison, Hopper and Antonov share their family lives with one another and concerns with their children's safety. Meanwhile, Joyce and Murray drives up to the prison where they are accepted inside upon verifying the hostages, Yuri also playing the part.

Reliving another memory, Eleven is examined by Brenner and notices the troublesome state that she is in. Brenner gathers all the children and teaches them about rules and that no one is above them. Brenner takes a look through all the children and correctly identifies Two as the culprit behind Eleven's concussion and attack prior due to his egotistical remarks. Brenner orders him to be given a shock collar and reprimands him with Brenner demanding to tell him what really had happened as Two convulses on the ground in pain, Peter Ballard and the other test subjects horrified at the sight.

Attempting to contact the others again, Dustin fails and meets up with Lucas who is not successful in his attempts as well. They are joined in by Erica who threatens to tell Dustin what she found underneath Lucas's bed if they didn’t tell her the situation. Lucas frantically explains their objectives and goals to Erica who is confused as to how a gate opened up in Lovers Lake in the first place which prompts Dustin to theorize the reasons as to why Vecna kills his victims and the connections between him and the Mind Flayer. Dustin figures out that Vecna is making powerful psychic connection with his victims just before they die in order to open new gates to the Upside Down in order to let the Mind Flayer and his many types of minions invade their world with Vecna possibly being the Mind Flayer's top general.

Inside the Upside Down version of the Wheeler house, Steve hears Dustin's echo throughout the entire house and attempts to reach out to him. Nancy looks for her guns, but finds a box containing shoes She is confused about the missing guns, but notices items in her room that had been thrown or given away years ago. Nancy reads her diary and sees that the last entry is dated November 6th, 1983 which is the day that Will was kidnapped into the Upside Down and Eleven opened the gate. Nancy realizes that time has been frozen in the Upside Down. Steve urges the group to listen closely and they hear Dustin's voice in the real-world version of the house. Nancy tries to communicate through the lights as Will had had done with Joyce. Steve points his flashlight to the chandelier which sparks light particles in the air. They realize that they can make the light fixture flash in the real world. No one in the group knows Morse Code, but Eddie knows the code for "SOS". Back at the house, Erica notices the flickering lights and alerts Dustin and Lucas to its presence. Dustin reads the code emitted through the lights and realizes that it is call for help from the others.

Back at the prison, Murray greets the Russian warden, who guide Joyce and Yuri to the battle that is about to take place upon asking of Hopper's location. Joyce sees Hopper along with the other prisoners who are being instructed of the rules and are prepared for the incoming fight.

After Two's punishment, Eleven spends time in the Rainbow Room and notices the hostility given out by the other members of Two's group. Ballard offers Eleven to play chess with him and informs her to not show any emotion upon hearing what he is about to say. Ballard tells her that Two is still being monitored and an attack would happened in the Rainbow Room if he finishes his recovery with the fight being allowed to happened by Brenner as he is afraid of what she can do and how uncontrollable she might get. Ballard informs her that she has to escape today and must follow every direction given out by him and hands her the access keycard.

Noticing their calls for help, Dustin, Erica and Lucas takes Holly's Lite Brite and assemble the pieces onto the board with results in communication successfully established between the two groups. Dustin proposes his theory that every murder scene where Vecna has killed someone has a gate with Nancy questioning Eddie of the distance between the house and his trailer and Robin proposes of getting there by bikes. After the interrogation, Max is called by Dustin and together, the four escape from the house and ride their bikes to Eddie's trailer with Erica hampering the police's chase after them. Callahan attempts to call another for interrogation but spot the group's escape as the parents rush out and sees their departure. At the same time, Nancy, Steve, Eddie and Robin also ride their bikes to Eddie's trailer as a Demobat alerts Vecna about their presence.

After being helped by Ballard, Eleven attempts her escape and ventures deep into the basement where she meets the orderly who directs her to the escape route but informs her that he will not come with her. Ballard informs her that he has a device called Soteria which contains an GPS chip that can track him and in turn track her as well but Eleven volunteers herself in getting it out as a way to repay his kindness.

At the prison, Antonov advises his fellow prisoners to band close together in killing the beast as the sires go off and the men start gathering weapons. The Russian Demogorgon emerges from the gate and begins to slaughter almost all of the prisoners within a few minutes as Hopper lights the torch at the last second. Noticing Hopper's strange action, the warden orders to investigate what is going on but is hold at gunpoint by Murray who orders to let all of them go. During the pit fight, Antonov and Hopper are left as the only survivors from it's attacks with Antonov attempting to pry their way out with an pickaxe while Hopper defends them with the torch. Upon the guards not cooperating, Murray knocks all of them out with Joyce beginning to figure out the buttons to open for the steel gate as Hopper successfully pushes the Demogorgon away. Joyce eventually opens the door and succeeds in leading Hopper and Antonov to safety and closes it once they are all in. Hopper eventually reunites with Joyce and Murray with the former embracing him.

Arriving at the trailer park, Steve, Nancy, Robin and Eddie notices a gate on the roof where Chrissy had died and approaches it to find a hole opening up by Dustin, Lucas, Erica and Max who had also just arrived. They use the mattress as a way to make sure everyone safely lands and they throw a sheet to the opposite side as a way of entering the trailer. Robin and Eddie end up making to the other side safely. When Nancy tries to climb, she is put in a trance state by Vecna's curse with her spiritual self landing in an eerie pool where Barb's body is shown with Vecna taunting Nancy with her traumatic memories and guilt due to letting Barb die.

In the memory, Eleven manages to extract the chip from Ballard's neck with the pair soon spotted by guards shortly after and they take off. Finding themselves cornered, Ballard reveals his powers, using them to kill the guards, much to Eleven’s shock. Ballard reveals himself to be One and tells her to stay put in the room until he finds them a way out. After a period of waiting, Eleven hears the sirens and discovers screams emitted from the walkie talkie via her abilities and she frantically begins to look for Ballard, eventually finding corpses of orderlies, test subjects and guards alike along the way. She eventually reaches the Rainbow Room to discover that Ballard is the culprit behind the massacre in 1979 much to the shock of Eleven as he finishes off Two. Upon noticing Eleven standing behind him, he somberly states that he asked her to wait.

Elsewhere in the Upside Down, Nancy manages to crawl out of the tub and into Vecna's lair where Vecna begins to show her the true events that had happened at the Creel House due to him being amused that Nancy had nearly solved his mystery. A flashback to 1959 shows that Victor Creel's son Henry Creel is shown to be different from other kids, Henry thought that humans infected the natural order of the world, which he despised because to him, it was continuing the same meaningless things every day. A lesser copy of the day before, repeating over and over. Victor thought that a new change of scenery could heal his "condition". Henry is also shown to have a fascination in black widow spiders and the old grandfather clock. Henry soon discovers he has supernatural abilities which allow him to reach into one's mind and he proceeds to use this power on a rabbit and kill it brutally, indicating that he is the culprit of all the dead animals laying around the house. He further uses his ability in projecting images into the minds of his father and mother as well as tormenting his younger sister Alice. His mother Virginia somehow suspects that the events caused around the house is that to be of her son and calls a doctor to help deal with the problem. Knowing what his mother had did, Henry kills her on the fateful dinner night and kills Alice as well. While attempting to kill his father by showing Victor visions of his haunting past, he reaches his breaking point and falls into a coma. Victor is soon arrested and falsely accused for Henry’s crime while Henry is brought over to Dr Martin Brenner who is the doctor that his mother had called prior. Following his capture, Brenner begins the program that sought to recreate Henry's abilities onto other children after installing the Soteria device into his neck when he realizes he cannot be controlled, with Henry being One and disguised as a friendly orderly named Peter Ballard.

Henry, who genuinely cared about Eleven, attempts to persuade her into joining his cause to eradicate humanity and restore balance to the natural order but is rejected by Eleven who proceeds to throw him against the wall. The pair engage in an intense fight with Henry nearly killing her but the latter edges him out by recalling a happy memory where she was first born into the world. This gives off massive energy readings back in the NINA facility where Owens and Brenner realize that Eleven's powers are coming back. Eleven then uses her newfound strength to pin Henry against the wall, nearly disintegrating him and transports him to the Upside Down. Henry is heavily mutilated by streaks of lightning caused by the Mind Flayer and he is disfigured and transformed into the monster that is Vecna, revealing the true identity of the monster that was behind the recent killings in Hawkins. As he retains his psychic connection to Nancy, a small vine unravels off his arm, revealing the tattoo that branded him as Number One.   

Cast

Main cast

Also Starring

Co-Starring

Music

Soundtrack

Coming soon.

Original score

  • "Portal Drill" - Henry Creel transforming into Vecna

Notes

  • The title of the episode was revealed on November 6, 2021, on the occasion of Stranger Things Day.
  • A part of this episode is included in the cold open for "The Hellfire Club", edited slightly differently to give us Brenner's point of view.
  • This episode is nominated for "Outstanding Directing For a Drama Series" at the Emmy Awards, alongside "Dear Billy."[3]
    • This episode is also nominated for "Outstanding Writing For a Drama Series" at the Emmy Awards.[3]
    • This episode is also nominated for "Outstanding Cinematography For a Single-Camera Series (ONE HOUR)" at the Emmy Awards, alongside "Dear Billy."[3]
  • A younger version of Eight does not appear. By 1979, she is mentioned in passing, by Henry, as having already escaped from Hawkins Lab.
  • Mike Wheeler, Will Byers, and Jonathan Byers are all absent in this episode. This is the first episode in the series that Mike has not appeared in.
    • Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin) is currently the only cast member to have appeared in every episode, although his appearance in The Lost Sister was a flashback.
  • When Nancy discovers the Upside Down is frozen in time by analyzing her bedroom, she picks up an old Pluto plushie on her bed and says she gave it to her cousin Joanna two years ago. In Dear Billy, however, when Nancy rummages through her closet while talking to Steve and Robin, the Pluto plushie is seen by her feet.

References

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